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Bromley woman backs lung disease awareness campaign

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 November 2019

Amy is learning to live with PH but wants to raise awareness of the condition. Picture: Amy Fraser

Amy is learning to live with PH but wants to raise awareness of the condition. Picture: Amy Fraser

Archant

A woman living with a rare incurable lung disease is backing a national awareness week.

Amy and partner Rob. Picture: Amy FraserAmy and partner Rob. Picture: Amy Fraser

Amy Fraser, 25, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) two years ago.

The life-shortening disease, which affects just 7,000 people in the UK, causes high pressure in the blood vessels connecting the heart and lungs.

Symptoms include severe breathlessness, fatigue, blackouts and swelling around the ankles, arms and stomach.

PH Awareness Week takes place from November 4 and has been organised by the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, a charity that supports those with the condition.

Amy suffered with symptoms for six years before she was diagnosed with PH, as doctors repeatedly put her breathlessness down to having asthma, and now wants to raise awareness.

A blackout resulted in a broken jaw and moving around became so hard that she was unable to put on her shoes.

Eventually, tests revealed pulmonary hypertension - a condition Amy had never heard of.

She said: "It was all such a shock. I felt like everything was falling apart; I've always been healthy, and I just didn't expect this to happen to me."

Amy now takes medication to help control the symptoms and is able to work as an account handler in Orpington, but she still struggles with the lack of awareness of the condition.

"From the outside, you wouldn't think there was anything wrong with me. People don't realise that I have to take things slowly, which is hard when I'm so young. It does make me feel like I'm on my own sometimes."

PHA UK research shows 53 per cent with PH experience or been diagnosed with anxiety or depression.

Over half find socialising difficult with 70pc having low self-confidence.

Amy said: "Having PH has made me a lot more anxious and knocked my self-confidence. I pull myself away from things sometimes, and the future can feel scary. You never know what is going on under the surface or what people are going through."

Amy receives treatment at the Hammersmith Hospital in London, which houses one of only nine specialist PH treatment centres in the UK.

For more information, visit www.phauk.org

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